Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated

by Yoga 4 Change, INC
Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated
Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated
Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated
Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated
Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated
Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated
Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated
Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated
Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated
Trauma Informed Yoga for the Incarcerated

Yoga 4 Change is currently teaching 13 weekly in-person classes in partnership with correctional facilities across the state of Florida and 2 virtual weekly classes in partnership with the 4th Judicial Court System in Duval County. The uncertanities of the COVID-19 pandemic had some facilities unable to allow external programming. Programming in carceral facilities has resumed in Jacksonville, the three facilities managed by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office have begun allowing external programs. As of May 2022, we have been teaching at the John E. Goode Pre-Trial Detention, James I. Montgomery Correctional Institute and Community Transition Center, in addition to  the John E. Pol correctional facility in Orlando and the Department of Juvenile Justice in Tampa.  Correctional facility data, year to date, shows that adult individuals experiencing incarceration have an average of 19% increase in mood, 31% decrease in stress and 20% decrease in physical pain.

Here is a few post-survey qualitative data from individuals who are incarcerated:

·Love the positive messaging and neutral pace. I’ve learned a lot and I’m enjoying the program.

·It has helped with my back and anxiety. Looking forward to doing [yoga] after I leave MCC.

·I have a new find [found] love inside me for Yoga that I didn’t know I had. It’s so great to have this chance.

·The entire program has allowed me to actually focus upon being in the here and also, the hereafter…Yoga 4 Change has made me a believer in the power to change for the self-betterment.

·I have a better understanding and appreciation for my body.

·I LOVE this class. It has helped me with my stress and depression.

If you're interested in learning more about data and evaluation, how we collect it and how we use it, Check out our free YouTube Live event with the Yoga 4 Change Research Team on August 17th at 12:30pm.


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SInce 2014, Yoga 4 Change has collected data from participants both before and after every class.  Participants self-report their levels of pain, stress and mood to directly show the impact the class has on their physical and mental health.  Over the past 8 years, Yoga 4 Change has collected quantitiative and qualitative data that proves the yoga practice can significantly decrease stress and physical pain and significantly improve mood.  Currently, we offer two weekly virtual classes to individuals involved in the 4th Judicial Court System in Duval County.  Veteran Court, Mental Health Court, Drug Court and Family Court recommend individuals to Yoga 4 Change programming.  In addition, Yoga 4 Change offers 6 weekly in-person classes to individuals who are experiencing incarceration in Central Florida and will be re-establishing 6 classes in Northeast Florida in the upcoming weeks, as they were put on pause due to the pandemic.  Yoga 4 Change classes are alwasy free to the participant and incorporate resources that individuals can use in their daily lives such as breathing exercises, physical movement, self inquiry and mindfulness practices.

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Yoga 4 Change currently maintains eight weekly classes specific to individuals involved in the carceral system.  These classes are in partnership with the Department of Corrections, court system and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.  Depending on the partnership, classes are offered both in-person and virtually.  We collect both quantitative and qualitative data at every class.  Below are a few quotes from students after taking 4-weeks of classes.  

"Yoga has certainly helped me out and understanding how to take control of my mind, body and spirit. To keep in touch with myself. Learn about new ways and techniques to improve myself physically and spiritually. Yoga can be used as a positive force to help me build my life a lot better and feel better at the same time. Thank you for letting me share."

"Great program, helped me focus on me and not other stuff. I will continue to take yoga it's helping me to cope with my short coming too."

"When I started the program, I started with an open mind & giving it a fair chance. I knew the only reason I was doing it was because it was 'court ordered', & that it was a practice, ( this yoga thing), that was kinda for chiks, at best, feminine'ish. So, instead of doing the easy thing & go into it with an attitude of, "...Oh my gosh, I can't wait till these 6 sessions are over already...', I chose the 'all in' approach. I couldn,'t have been more pleasantly wrong, I GET IT...I now know why humans do Yoga. I particularly enjoyed the early morning session, cuz for me, no matter how I felt prior to 'logging on', a feeling of 'Heaven Sent' came over me upon completion. So, in summation, no matter when I do a session of Yoga, I'm gonna feel better about 'doing life'."

 

And we conclude with one final quote that we find relatable - "Yoga is the best".

 

Happy Holidays Everyone, from the Entire Yoga 4 Change Team

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Hi Community,

We hope everyone is healthy and safe.

This is the latest update on our carceral facility programming.  As of right now, all Duval County Carceral programs are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are in constant communication with staff at all three facilities and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO), and due to the high numbers of COVID cases in the Jacksonville area, all external programs are being paused per JSO.  We will keep you updated on this program and our next action steps.  In lieu of in-person programs, we have been offering virtual classes to individuals involved with the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court in Duval County.  These classes run four times per week and are recommended by Judges in Veteran Court, Mental Health Court and Drug Court. Also, in Duval County, we continue to teach to the youth at the Department of Juvenile Justice.  In a recent Florida Department of Juvenile Justice newsletter, they state " The Yoga 4 Change team visits the youth every Tuesday to share their instruction.  The instructors are patient and helpful in teaching the basic foundations of yoga, and the youth greatly enjoy the class." 

 

In addition, we continue to offer in-person classes to individuals in correctional facilities in Seminole County.  These classes have been on-going since the beginning of 2021 and are being researched by our Director of Research, in partnership with Boston University.  Individuals track mood, stress and physical pain levels via notecards both before and after class and they self-report on multiple outcomes through a pre- and post survey taken before starting classes and after 6-weeks of programming.  Outcomes such as post traumatic stress, emotional awareness, emotional regulation and healthy coping skills.  Photos posted are from individuals notecards after one yoga class.  

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Staff outside of the John Polk Correctional
Staff outside of the John Polk Correctional

During the pandemic, many facilities were not allowing external programming and/or serving less individuals due to social distancing requirements.  All 6 weekly in-person classes in the 3 facilities ran by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in Duval County were put on pause.  In order to continue serving individuals involved in the carceral system, we began court-ordered virtual classes serving individuals who are involved in the carceral system through Veteran Court, Mental Health Court and Drug Court. In addition, we have begun in-person classes for individuals at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Seminole County and have weekly consistent classes.

Our Program Directors are in constant communication with the administration and judicial court system in Duval County and we will resume classes as soon as it is safe to do so.  Also, to note, we are in conversation with the court system in Tampa Bay and are working on securing a partnership to serve individuals court-involved in the Tampa Bay area.  We are grateful for your continued support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will keep you updated as we shift back to in-person in Duval County correctional facilities and grow our programming across the state of Florida.  

Practicing Yoga
Practicing Yoga

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Organization Information

Yoga 4 Change, INC

Location: Atlantic Beach, FL - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @yoga_4_change
Project Leader:
Breanna Tivvis
Atlantic Beach, FL United States
$16,668 raised of $57,000 goal
 
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